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raymundo

Violin Varnish Clouding

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Hi all,

I have an old violin (1800s), probably Hungarian, of unknown maker (no label). Sometimes, after a long playing session or when the weather is hot, I sweat, which comes into contact with the rib of the violin, right under the chinrest. The varnish in this area I can tell has suffered over time, as it is muddled and pitted. The problem is when I sweat the varnish turns a cloudy white. The first time this happened it mostly went away by itself after a hour or so. The second time it happened it persisted for days, till I took a hairdryer to it (heating the old varnish cleared the clouding). Since then I have been using a cotton cloth between my neck and the violin, to absorb the moisture while playing. Unfortunately this removes the grip I have between chin and chinrest, making it harder for me to play. Are there any suggestions on what I could do to protect this section of the varnish? Or if I need a luthier, what should I expect of him to do?

 

thanks

Edited by raymundo

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5 hours ago, uncle duke said:

I think Jeffrey the moderator here uses scotch tape.

No... I don't use scotch tape.  I use clear matte book cover (low tac) cut to size and applied to the rib.  Hardly noticeable and easily removable.  Pretty standard, BTW.

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The refractive indexes of water and varnish are different enough that when enough water gets entrained in the varnish, it will tend to appear white.

A plastic cover can be excellent at preventing water infiltration. Frequent applications of a wax surface coating can also work.

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I suspect this is shellac turning cloudy due to moisture. It’s similar to the ring mark left on furniture by a wet drinking glass. Google and read how to deal with it. I do not use shellac, so I forgot how to address this classic problem.

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Thanks for the suggestions. The best solution imo would be to use a clear plastic covering, that doesn't use adhesive. But are we sure it wouldn't affect the varnish in any way? I'm worried one summer afternoon I'd find that the plastic covering merged with the violin...

 

p.s. any brand suggestions?

Edited by raymundo

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